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Chile's Virus Unlikely to Spread in British Columbia

by the Fish Site Editor
23 July 2009, at 1:00am

CHILE - The virus that has crippled Chile's farmed salmon industry is extremely unlikely to appear at B.C.'s fish farms, says Clare Backman, environmental relations director for Marine Harvest Canada, the largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon in B.C.

Infectious salmon anemia is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal to Atlantic salmon and coho, but cannot be transmitted to humans, reports Canwest News Service.

Acording to the report, the outbreak in Chile has resulted in the closure of farms and processing plants -- including those owned by Marine Harvest -- restructuring of the industry and strict new government regulations.

It was surprising when the virus appeared in Chile, as it was formerly believed to be confined to the Atlantic Ocean. There is speculation it could be a new strain or may have reached Chile through the transfer of eggs or fry, Backman said.

According to Backman it is unlikely that the disease was brought in through farming operations as the importation of broodstock and eggs from infected locations is prohibited. He believes it is more likely to have been accidentally introduced by someone outside the industry.

the Fish Site Editor

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